1 Kings 19:b-21. This First Reading is set in the context of the ministry of the prophet Elijah. Elijah has been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to accomplish great and powerful acts, such as a drought, calling on the fire of the Lord, an end to the drought, and miraculous feeding; yet, in the text Elijah is discouraged and depressed. In the midst of his discouragement, the Lord comes to Elijah to ask what he is doing at Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai). Elijah complains that he is the only worshipper of the Lord who is left in Israel, and his life is in danger. Three powerful events happen in the presence of Elijah, but the Lord is in none of them, and then Elijah hears a low whisper, or as some translate, sheer silence; at that point Elijah knows he is the presence of the Lord, and he covers his face in fear and respect. Again he is asked what he is doing there, again Elijah complains; but the Lord will have none of that, He tells Elijah that he still has work to do, and sends him out to do his mission. At times we, too, might be discouraged, but the Lord is still in charge and He continues to send us out on our mission.
Lord God, when we see Elijah we see ourselves: sometimes we are bold and strong, sometimes we are discouraged and weak. When we are turned in on ourselves, let Your Holy Spirit open our eyes to see Your on-going activity in the world, and send us out on our mission for You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Psalm 16 is a psalm of David. Notice the contrast between those who worship the Lord and those who follow false gods; those who worship the Lord are blessed, those who follow after false gods have troubles multiplied to them. This does not mean that we won’t have difficult times in life, or that difficult times are punishments from the Lord, but we have the Lord’s presence and strength to see us through. Let us look to the Lord and trust in Him alone to see us through the difficulties of life.
Lord God, to You be all honor, praise, glory and thanks that You are with us every moment of every day. We give You thanks that even in the difficulties of life You will not abandon us and that You see us through. Keep us in faith. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Galatians 5:1, 13-25. The Second Reading is a continuation of reading through major sections of Galatians. This passage is placed after the proclamation of the Gospel by the apostle Paul: we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works. In this passage the apostle Paul proclaims freedom in Christ, but this freedom is not a license to sin; Paul reminds us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that we should not give in to sin again, do not let sin regain mastery over us. We are now in Christ, He is our Lord and Savior; don’t let sin regain control, rather let the Holy Spirit produce the fruits of discipleship in our lives.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank and praise You that You have redeemed us through Your death and resurrection. We thank and praise You that You have set us free from sin, death, and the devil. Let Your Holy Spirit continue to work in our lives so that sin does not regain mastery over us, rather let the Holy Spirit produce His fruit in our lives. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
Luke 9:51-62. Even this early in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus resolutely sets His course which will eventually lead to His death, resurrection, and ascension. He must get to Jerusalem to accomplish His mission; the shortest way is through Samaria. Knowing that Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, a Samaritan village refuses to receive Him. Two disciples, James and John, offer to call down fire from heaven to destroy the village. Jesus will have none on that, His mission is to bring reconciliation and life, not judgment and destruction. What did Jesus do in the face of resistance? He continued on, calling new disciples to follow. Let us continue our mission even when we face resistance.
Lord Jesus, we are so grateful that You came to reconcile, forgive, and give life, even in the face of resistance, because we know our sinful selves resist You in our lives. Be merciful to us, forgive and restore us each day, and send us out to do the mission to which You have called us, the mission of proclaiming You as Lord and Savior, calling others to follow You. Amen.